Russia may open case against man cleared of Russian toddler death

Russia’s Investigation Committee has every reason to start a criminal case against a U.S. resident whom a U.S. court cleared of suspicion of killing his Russian adoptive son, Russian Children’s Ombudsman Pavel Astakhov said on Friday.

The boy, Isaac Dykstra, was born in Russia’s Krasnoyarsk Region in 2003 and was adopted by 35-year-old Brian and Lisa Dykstra of Iowa City just months before his death, according to U.S. police.

The one-and-a- half-year-old toddler died on August 14, 2005 the day after he was admitted to hospital with massive brain swelling, severe bleeding inside his skull and retinal swelling in both eyes.

Isaac was pronounced brain-dead the following day and Iowa City police launched an investigation into the death. They believed Isaac died from head trauma that was inflicted while he was in the sole custody and care of his father.

More than six years after the toddler’s death, his adoptive parent was tried on suspicion of delivering the fatal blows. Johnson County Iowa Court on November 3, 2011 cleared Brian Dykstra of all charges.

The U.S. authorities conducted the year-long investigation into Isaac’s death without sharing any information with Russian diplomats or the Russian Education Ministry that supervises foreign adoptions.

“I believe that the Investigation Committee has every reason to start a criminal case against Brian Dykstra and put him to justice. I have already informed [the Investigation Committee’s head] Alexander Bastrykin and we share a common position; those who commit crimes against Russian children abroad should be prosecuted,” Astakhov said.

Russia’s Investigation Committee on Friday started its own investigation into the boy’s death. “The boy was adopted by U.S. parents in the Krasnoyarsk region in 2005 and the circumstances of his death will come under scrutiny,” the committee said in a press release.

Since 1991, a total of 19 adopted Russian children have died worldwide as a result of beatings or negligence, according to official Russian statistics.

Russia also has a serious domestic child abuse problem, with some 2,000 children killed every year.


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